Shirley's UK Trip 2012 travel blog

New Forest ponies. I had to drive around them

A mixture of donkeys, cattle & sheep all together on the road

Part of the stone circle at Avebury

The Red Lion pub at Avebury

More of the stone circle at Avebury

Our beautiful weather has definitely finished for a while. It was cold & cloudy today & my car was saying it was about 11C most of the day. It’s going to get worse too. The forecast is for rain by Tuesday & Wednesday is supposed to be 7C in London. So it looks like I’ll get to use some of my warm clothes after all.

Saturday is moving day so I had to pack up & got away just after 9:00. I had another beautiful drive through the New Forest – the trees are still bare but the last week’s warm weather has brought out a distinct tinge of green. One of the advantages of using the Sat-Nav system is that you don’t have to stay on the main roads. She takes you on all kinds of back roads, which is wonderful.

I met some very interesting wildlife this morning & the ponies would not budge. Luckily the road was wide enough to go around them. I drove right through Salisbury & glimpsed the beautiful cathedral with the tallest spire in Europe & went past Old Sarum & Stonehenge without stopping because I saw them last year & headed for Avebury.

Avebury is also famous for its henge & stone circles but that’s just about where the similarity with Stonehenge ends. They were built roughly the same time – about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago but the stones are quite different & Avebury is a lot bigger. The henge (which is the ditch around the stones), goes right around the village & there were more than 300 standing stones here.

These stones are local & are their natural shapes whereas in Stonehenge the stones were brought in from far away & they’ve been smoothed & shaped. I was fortunate enough to get on a guided tour which went for over an hour so I learned a lot. Not that I’ll remember much of it.

No-one knows what the purpose was. Was it ceremonial? Was it religious? They haven’t found any bones, so it wasn’t a burial site like Stonehenge & it doesn’t seem to be aligned with anything. One story I loved was that the stones were brought here & the ditch was built to keep them in because back in Neolithic times there were always stories of stones moving, especially at night. Also, the mound on the outside of the ditch was so that the stones couldn’t see out so they didn’t know they’d been moved.

It’s as good an explanation as any.

After all that, I went on to Nailsworth which is a small village in the heart of the Cotswolds & close to where my great-grandmother lived before the family moved to Australia in 1853. My apartment is upstairs & I look out onto the village street so it’s very different from where I’ve been among trees & birds. It’s quite noisy out there now but I’m sure it will settle down.

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